What hap­pens to the smug­gled birds?

Stabroek News Sunday - - NEWS -

Dear Ed­i­tor, In Stabroek News of Fri­day, April 6, it was re­ported that 2 men were ar­rested on Wed­nes­day at JFK In­ter­na­tional Air­port in New York for il­le­gally smug­gling finches from Guyana. What is also sur­pris­ing, if the re­port is cor­rect, is that these in­no­cent birds can be sold for up to US$5000.00 or more!

On Wed­nes­day I was at Bourda Mall buy­ing some fruit when I over­heard a ven­dor ask­ing a man about a friend of theirs. The man replied, “Me see the man only yes­ter­day, he come to me house to barra a bird trap”, I asked the man: “Why trap in­no­cent birds?” He said, “Wha, them thing does fetch lotta money in New York”.

I want to con­grat­u­late the US Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion for be­ing so alert. If these men (one is 72 years old and the other 57) are con­victed, they could face up to 20 years in jail (ac­cord­ing to the ar­ti­cle).

These in­no­cent birds must suf­fer tremen­dously on their il­licit jour­ney. My ques­tion is now what hap­pens to those birds? Will they be put in a zoo, re­leased in the wild or re­turned to Guyana?

Our gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions should be strength­ened and our jus­tice sys­tem made se­vere enough to dis­cour­age Guyanese from par­tic­i­pat­ing in this prac­tice.

Read­ing this ar­ti­cle brought to mind Ginn Bly’s beau­ti­ful and mean­ing­ful poem:

Deep within the soul of the lonely caged bird,

Beats the rhythm of a dis­tant for­est.

Etched upon its bro­ken heart.

The faded mem­ory of flight. Yours faith­fully, Syeada Man­bodh

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